The Mariners will be without one of their most important players for at least a few games as they gear up for final stretch run in an attempt to end a two-decade playoff drought
Star center fielder Julio Rodríguez is likely to be placed to the injured list with a lower back strain, multiple team officials told SI‘s Greg Bishop. The move comes after Rodríguez left Thursday’s game against the A’s in the first inning with back tightness. Seattle expects him to return before the end of the season, per Bishop.
The same issue forced him to miss three games against the Angels last weekend. The 21-year-old has been on fire since coming off the IL on Aug. 12 following a wrist injury. In his last 32 games, Rodríguez has hit .299/.361/.545 with nine home runs and four stolen bases.
The Mariners enter this weekend with a four-game lead over the Orioles for the final wild-card spot in the American League. Seattle has not made the postseason since 2001, and is currently riding the longest active playoff drought in the league.
Rodríguez is in a neck-and-neck battle with Baltimore’s Adley Rutschman for the AL Rookie of the Year award. On the season, Rodríguez is hitting .280/.342/.502 with 27 home runs and 25 stolen bases in 129 games.
More MLB coverage:
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• The Yankees are Built for a Deep Playoff Run
• How the New Mets are (Mostly) Overcoming Decades of Dysfunction
• Everything in Aaron Judge’s Career Led Him to This Historic Season
For more Seattle Mariners coverage, go to Inside The Mariners.